I was hugely challenged this week, by a status update on Facebook by Galit Breen, who offered the opportunity to participate in a giveaway in exchange for people sharing the last time they did something kind. To my chagrin I couldn’t think of anything I’d done which was worthy of having a place in her competition.
Nothing. Nada. Zip!I was a bit upset with myself. I tend to think of myself as quite nice, but clearly I was resting on my laurels or listening to my own good press or something, because I realised with horror that I had actually *done* nothing. I ‘fessed up to having done nothing kind which could count, and resolved to do better.
Opportunities seemed to present themselves once I was looking for them, which was awesome, and allowed me to mitigate the nagging feeling that I talked a better game than I played. Perhaps there’s something about being too accustomed to other people thinking you’re good, which makes you complacent and lazy. Perhaps, equally, there’s something to knowing that really you’re not all that good, which makes you desire to do better, so that you are equal to at least *some* of the good opinion people bestow upon you.
Anyway, kindness proliferated, and I was able to share it further and further, encouraging friends to share instances when they had experienced other people demonstrating kindness. Increasingly it feels as though we’re living in a global society which is trying to link up and connect in meaningful ways, through kindness, compassion, empathy, and wonder. Might just be the corner of the World Between the Wires that I choose to associate with, but I’ll take it, I really will, because it means that my news feed is filled with people either doing good, standing up against bad, or making positive connections.
I want more of that, and I think kindness is key. It resonates with all of us – we’ve all experienced it. We’ve all known what it is to do something lovely for someone else, because it will make them happy, and that makes US happy. There are a million ways to say ‘the gift is in the giving’, and I think there’s a reason that kind of saying gets trotted out so often – truth is sprinkled through it like chocolate chips.
I know there’s so very much badness out there, and it seems utterly overwhelming, but everywhere there are people standing up for one another. They’re calling out the injustices and bullies and mean governments. They’re decrying the guns and the tragedies and beginning to work together to demand change. They’re recognising assholes and insisting on change for the better.
Look at the individuals who are standing up for GOOD, and who are working damn hard to spread it as far and wide as they can – they’re everywhere. We’re everywhere. In the end, if we all band together in action, it will be okay. We’ll be okay. You’ll be okay. Together, we’re stronger.
Admittedly most of the clicks and shares aren’t translating to action yet, but it’s a slow, slow process to mobilise good. It will happen. The pendulum of this world is on an out-swing to danger and bad, but people are taking ever better care to be educated, engaged, and empathetic. They are connecting with one another and banding together to make a difference.
With each like, each share, each gentle challenge to attitude or outmoded thinking, each new voice who calls for truth and justice and goodness, each person who joins the ranks of those who CARE…THERE is our hope.
This season, what we all need more of is HOPE.
So much seems to degenerate around guns and red cups and Syria and whether or not your brand of thinking is good enough for whoever’s agenda, and really it doesn’t make a damn difference if all you’re doing is arguing about it. None of it. This is one time when words will no longer suffice. Kindness can be spoken or written, but it rarely occurs mid-argument. And most of it is something small and intentional, done purposefully, in a quiet way.
There are big problems in this world. Ones which seem insurmountable, and conversations HAVE to happen. Change (on a massive scale) NEEDS to happen. But anyone holding forth on social media is unlikely to make vast changes. Not saying it can’t happen, but it seems unlikely. And if we’re going to gamble on making a change, I’d love to stack the odds by choosing ACTION.
If you’re out of ideas for ACTIONS to take, Galit even has a handy list of 31 Purposeful Acts of Kindness. Think of your own, by all means, but I love these. They’re about connection, empathy, acknowledgement, connection, and ultimately, love.
❤ For Friendship
❤ For Music
❤ For Beauty
❤ For Encouragement
❤ For Connection
❤ For Love
❤ For Family
❤ For Hope
❤ For You
You’ll be okay
You’ll be okay
The sun will rise
To better days
And change will come
It’s on its way
Just close your eyes
And let it rain
So…over to you. To notice kindness. To name and fame those who do it. To do it yourself.
Start today – the comments section is always open ❤